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Will you speak out, will you defend me?

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With a music collection the size of Rhode Island, or at least a small city, like I have, it is inevitable that some things will gather some dust. Some things will even be removed at some point to make room for others in a cramped storage case, and may wind up stuck in a box in the closet that gets forgotten about for years. Most often, when coming upon that box again, the contents are nothing more than a mildly humorous snapshot of your life at the time, but once in a while a little nugget of goodness is found hidden inside. This is the case with Pop Will Eat Itself’s Dos Dedos Mis Amigos.

This is music that screams “1995!” at me, but is actually weathering the age quite well. I spent a good deal of that year listening to Dos Dedos, and reflected in the music is my love of industrial that year – like nearly everyone else who kept up with trends in music.

PWEI issued this album, along with an EP with a few remixes (called Amalgamation,) in 1994 on Trent Reznor’s label, Nothing. As can be expected, Trent Reznor’s touch shows up in the heavily digital-sounding guitar lines that he made so popular with Nine Inch Nails. Prior to this album, PWEI was really more of a hard-edged dance-pop unit, churning out catchy, bubblegum-industrial as a reaction to the “scary” industrial of acts like Skinny Puppy. While Dos Dedos Mis Amigos was self-produced, it is clear that Reznor offered some advice on How To Be Industrial Like Me, advice he also offered up around the same to fledging label-mates Marilyn Manson.

There’s nothing deep going on here, save for an ode to open-mindedness toward those unlike yourself (“Ich Bin Ein Auslander”), but the music, to this day, succeeds in being catchy, driving anthems. It has aged much better than most music of the period, probably because PWEI kept an emphasis on a heavy, simple, but infectious beat. The general sound is big, bold, brash, but bouncy – a bunch of ‘b’s that make for a good time in the right proportions. If there’s a slow moment on the album, it’s closing number “Babylon,” but by that time you’ve probably had enough fun anyway. Tell me “Kick To Kill” doesn’t get under your skin. I won’t believe you.

As much fun as this album was and as many new fans as they may have gained from it, PWEI promptly disappeared after this release and the tour of this album. Perhaps it’s better to have exited the music scene with a highpoint like this, than struggle against the stream after industrial music had lost its audience. Fortunately for you, there are probably plenty of cheap, used copies out there at your local record store.

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About Tom Johnson

  • Zaldor

    PWEI is the best – I had the pleasure of catching them in Detroit for this tour, and it was a great show! Great memories with PWEI and their music, I own their CDs and very glad that I do.